Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oero Caramel Brownies - Dos and Don'ts!

For Valentine's Day, since we were spending it at home, I wanted to make Jeff and gooey, luscious dessert. Well, I tried at least!!


I found the recipe for Oero Caramel Brownie Bombs and knew I had to make it! Not only did it sound so rich and gooey, but I had brownie mix and caramels that I needed to use up, not to mention my current obsession: Who Nu cookies. (Note that in the original recipe, the cookie dough, brownie batter and caramel are all homemade.)

However, things didn't go as planned. The original recipe said to put the bottom layer of cookie dough in a 9x13 pan, but there was no way it would cover the bottom of that large of a pan. But... I had already planned to use brownie mix for a 9x13 so I just did so... stupidly. That made the brownie batter too thick so I had to bake it twice as long and thus the cookie layer got overbaked. Still edible, just really baked. The Whonu cookies got lost in all the batter. Oh, and my caramels melted but once cooled became hard and sticky. With each bite I felt like the fillings in my teeth would come out.

This would be the life on LB the baker!!

all ready to go!

BUT. It was still really, really good!!! with the adjustments below, I would make it again.
To recap: If you are a "do it all homemade" person, follow the link above to the original recipe at Rock Recipes. If you like a few shortcuts, try my redone recipe below.

after the bottom layer, the goodness begins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 7x11 inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and again lightly grease the parchment.

Prepare the cookies and caramels beforehand, as you need to work quickly once the cookie layer comes out of the oven. You can make the brownie batter as the cookie layer is baking.
Chocolate Chip Base 
Cream until light and fluffy:

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat well.

Sift together
1 cup + 3 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, folding to combine well. Fold in

½ cup chocolate chips

Spread in the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. (325 degrees for glass bake ware) Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with

18 Oreo or chocolate sandwich cookies, broken into quarters
2 dozen soft caramel candies, cut into quarters or two dozen teaspoons homemade soft caramel  
one box brownie mix, prepared as directed

Pour batter over the Oreos and caramel, return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the surface of the brownie batter is no longer glossy (may take up to 45 minutes). Cool completely.

Top with a drizzle of chocolate ganache if desired. Cut in 2 inch squares.
(I thought they would be rich enough with the ganache, but here is the recipe if you so desire)
Chocolate Ganache

In the microwave, scald 1/3 cup whipping cream, almost to boiling. Pour over 1 &1/3 cups chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spoon the ganache into a Ziploc bag and using sharp scissors, snip a small corner of the bag off and pipe a thin stream of the ganache in a continuous circular pattern over the squares.

the cookie layer is so overdone you can't even tell it is there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' Feb 2012 Challenge: Quick Breads

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

cheesy, oniony, with a little kick

I was really excited about this one because I LOVE to make quick breads. Because they are, well, quick to make lol and also EASY. Plus some, like banana bread, are a good way to get in fruits and other good for you items.

Reading the info about this challenge, I realzied I had never mad a savory quick bread before, and I knew I had to try one! The recipe I used is below, except I forgot to buy asagio cheese, so I just used grated Parmesan. I also just eyeballed the cheese and the onions. I so rarely do that.. it was a bit freeing!! I also used a can of light beer that we already had.

this pic is for Jeff!

Green Onion, Cheddar & Asiago Beer Batter Bread

Makes one 9” x 5” (23 x 13 cm) loaf
Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Cheddar Chive Beer Batter Bread
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil
1 cup (240 ml) (100 gm/3½ oz) sliced green (spring) onion
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (45 gm/1½ oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
1 cup (240 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (120 ml) (2 oz) grated Asiago cheese
One (12 fl oz/355 ml) (about 1½ cups) bottle beer (such as amber ale)
¼ cup (60 ml) (55 gm/2 oz) butter, melted and divided

time to get the mix on!

  1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5. Spray 9”×5″ (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add green onion and sauté 3-4 minutes or until tender. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add onion, cheeses, and beer. Stir just until moist.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for 35 minutes; brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake an additional 23 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
So. Much. Yummy. Butter!!!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 2/27/12

Monday: Dr. Oekter Pizza Ristorante (thank you BzzAgent!)
Tuesday: Italian Style Chicken Dinner (didn't make last week)
Wednesday: something from the freezer , have to dig around and see what we have!
Thursday:  leftovers

Friday: Fettuccine alfredo
Saturday and Sunday: I try not to cook on the weekends! Saturday we are going to an ice cream social, so I think that we will have a frozen for dinner. Sunday will be leftovers.

 For more menus visit orgjunkie

Giveaway: Win a 2 Night Stay in Estes Park, CO

Win a two night stay in Estes Park Central

Enjoy a 2 night family vacation in Estes Park, Colorado any time between April 8th – 22nd for a family of up to 6 people (a value over $550) in time for Spring Break!!!

This event was put together by Two Little Cavaliers the prize is being provided thanks to our sponsor Estes Park Central. This event is open worldwide, however you must provide your own transportation.

Estes Park View

 I am sooooo excited to be part of this giveaway! Like I said in the teaser post, I lived in Colorado for 6 years, not far from Estes Park. We always took visitors up to Esters Park so they could see how gorgeous the Rocky Mountains are. Estes Park is SUCH a cute town. They have a great "main drag" section without of cute shops. Of course, the Stanley hotel where Stephen King wrote The Shining is there. And Rocky Mountain National Park, which has lots of animals and hiking trials, just caps all of the natural beauty of the area. Whoever wins this vacation is totally lucky - if I could take the time to go, I would totally enter myself!

About Estes Park Vacation Rentals: Experience luxurious accommodations, breathtaking views, cozy fireplaces and the ultimate premier vacation rental. Established in 2007, Estes Park Central holds high standards in private luxury vacation rental properties and guest services. With our Estes Park Vacation Rentals service and cabin rentals, we offer personalized lavish vacation rental accommodations to meet your individual needs. All our private vacation rental properties feature top of the line appointments, fully equipped kitchens, TV and DVD, fireplaces, cozy living areas, free wireless Internet, twin/queen/king beds with luxurious bedding and views of the Rocky Mountains.

Estes Park Central Condo

 About the Condo: This is a newly constructed, luxury, two bed/two bath condo with gorgeous mountain views overlooking Marys Lake and only 3 miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Our rental is fully-equipped with a Jacuzzi bathtub, king and queen-size bed, queen-size sofa bed in the living room, gas fireplace, washer and dryer, TV with cable, DVD and a gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops. A private hot tub on the deck overlooking the mountains enhances your relaxation. The historic Marys Lake Lodge is located on this unique property. It has been totally restored to its original grandeur.Marys Lake Lodge offers 2 separate dining experiences for your pleasure. Grandmaison’s Chalet Room offers world-class international cuisine with a European flair in an elegant ambiance. The Tavern serves delicious meals in a casual atmosphere with live music every night all summer. The rest of the year the live music continues Wednesday through Sunday evening. The Escape Spa and Salon offers a complete salon experience to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.

*While this particular condo is not pet friendly they do offer other condos and vacation homes under their management that that are pet friendly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Coming Soon: Win a Stay in Estes Park, Colorado

I will be joining Two Little Cavaliers and other bloggers in giving away a 2 night stay in Estes Park, Colorado (right next to Rocky Mountain National Park) for a stay anytime April 8th – 22nd for a family of up to 6 people (a value over $550) right in time for Spring Break! This prize is being provided by our sponsor Estes Park Central . The Giveaway will run from Monday February 27 at 12:01am and run through March 6th at 11:59pm, so check back for all of the info!

If you are ablogger, you can join in the event for FREE! Click here for more information.

I lived in Colorado for 6 years, so I am totally excited to be part of this giveaway!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Our First Goose Egg

ah, yes, this morning, Emmett got his very first goose egg on his forehead! We had 10 minutes until we had to go to our tax appt. (an hour away, if you remember, plus it was pouring rain). I was carrying him across the bedroom and tripped on the comforter... I fell into the dresser, hit my arm (which still hurts) and skinned my elbow on the edge of the drawers, and poor Emmett went head first into the side of the dresser. He cried and cried, and it was so hreatbreaking! We called the dr., and the nurse said that as long as he cried, wasn't vomiting, his eyes weren't crossed and he had an appetite then he was ok. It was scary for awhile though!

I tried to take a picture tonight, not sure if you can see it. It still is tender for him (I assume, since he doesn't like it when I touch it) but the swelling is down and it is just red. Poor guy!!!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Insanity Continues!!!

This crazy week goes on...
Tuesday, J and I went to the optometrist... new glasses for both! We went to the Dr. we were supposed to go to last time (instead they had scheduled us with a different one who we didn't like), we we both loved her!! That night we met up w/the in-laws for the pancake supper at church. Yummy!!

Since I have no pics of anything in this post, here are a few of the baby! This was at a playdate on Sunday, and no that is not his toy, silly baby!

Wednesday, we got some shopping and laundry done. Sometimes those days are the busiest! I am proud that I should have to spend very little for food in March. Trying to change our attitude and laziness lol so far so good, I think.  Menu plan went awry when I forgot to defrost the chicken. Oopsie lol but we did use up a few odds nad ends so that was good.

We also did some more babyproofing this week... he screamed when he realized he couldn't get in the coffee table anymore, but he hasn't tried since!
Today was city day!! We saw a taping of The Chew and yes, Clinton Kelly is just as gorgeous in person!! We had to dress up all fancy because it was for the Oscar show. And i got blisters :( The sohw airs tomorrow, Friday, we will be on TV! We got a lot of great swag, including one of Wolfgang Puck's chocolate Oscars, coated in 24k gold! Only available at the Oscar afterparty. Pic below. For lunch, we ate at The Palm using a gift card I won a few years ago from NYC Single Mom. The food was good, and we only had to pay for our drinks, sweet!!!

So pretty. So edible! 24k gold dusted chocolate Oscar, thank you Wolfgang Puck!
and I want to mention that the train home was packed, and a nice man let me sit by him, which was wonderful for my feet, and I had a good time listening to him chatter. I was surprised that someone actually offered up a seat to a woman! (It was an extra eat - but he did offer to stand so Jeff could sit next to me!)

Tomorrow, Friday, we are getting our taxes done. wooo. It will be an adventure as always. Our wonderful tax gal is an hour away, and so we go to the mall and eat at Bobby's Burger Palace and make a short day of it. However, Jeff realized that we had a gift certificate to John Harvard's Brew House so we are going there.

And that is why I have not updated in 4 days!!!! LOL

I will leave you with a pic of Baby E (hardly a baby anymore!) and his new trick - he has added to his "puss" face (pursing his lips and blowing up his cheeks). He now also closes one eye, so I have dubbed it the pirate puss. He is seriously the cutest and funniest baby EVER!!!!

Cracks me up every. time!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 2/20/12

This week is a busy week - Jeff is off for break so there is always a million things to do! The plus is that I won't have to cook too much! Huzzah!!!

Monday: I will be cooking chicken in the crock to shred for the future, but we will be going out to Cheesecake Factory for dinner - gift card and 2 free slices of cheesecake YUM (as a side note - I will be going out shopping without the baby and I am sooo excited!!!)
Tuesday: All-you-can-eat pancakes at church for the start of Lent
Wednesday: Italian Style Chicken Dinner
Thursday: We are going to a taping of The Chew!!! It is Oscar themed so we will be all dressed up. We are going to Primeburger on the advice of a friend (yes you, we heard about it from you long before him <3 )
Friday: We are getting our taxes done which means one thing: Bobby's Burger Palace!! for lunch So dinner will be something light.
Saturday: leftover Italian Style Chicken
Sunday: Perdue chicken nuggets!

Dessert... I will post my VDay dessert this week (It was a doozy!). This week I need to make my daring baker item. And for some reason we have peanut butter cookie dough in the fridge, so I think I will make something with that. Take advantage of J. being around!!

Here is to a fabulous week!
For more menus visit orgjunkie.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Sample: Tide Pods

It works for dishwashers, why not washing machines? Go here and get a free sample from Tide of their new pods - laundry detergent, brightener and stain remover in one!

(ty Karen for the link)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

From my cranky boy to your (hopefully non-cranky) family, happy heart day!

Sorry it is blurry... had to keep this kid in focus ;)
I did find a recipe to make for dessert... I am going to change it up a bit! We will see how it goes.

Single or not... celebrate the love in your life today <3

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 2/13/12

This is going to be a lazy week, trying to use up what we have here and stretching out grocery shopping until next week! This menu was created very quickly this morning!

Monday: J. has  late meeting so we are having frozens
Tuesday: Heart day!!! Crock Pot Pizza Chicken and I'll probably make some brownies.
Wednesday: burritos from the freezer
Thursday:  leftovers
Friday: Grands ham and cheese melts
Saturday and Sunday: I try not to cook on the weekends, but I don't think we'll have enough leftovers for both days. Maybe we will go out for Valentine's Day, we do have a few restaurant gift cards!

For more menus visit orgjunkie

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cozy mystery Challenge 2012: Book 1: Eggs in Purgatory

I signed up for the challenge last year and DID read all of the books I signed up for... I just didn't blog them all. Oops. So we are trying again this year. Wish me luck!!!

Eggs in Purgatory (A Crackleberry Club mystery) by Laura Childs review

Description: Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lose their husbands but find independence when they open the Cackleberry Club. Then their cozy cafe becomes the scene of a crime when a lawyer dies with a secret on his lips and egg on his face. What this all has to do with a religious cult and Suzanne's past could put her own life on the line. (via amazon)

Review: Eggs in Purgatory starts off with the murder being quickly established. The tale spins of from there and includes a lot of characters - I got lost among them. I had no clue who the murderer was - even after the person was named! However, I did like how different Suzanne, Petra and Toni were. Each one added their own part of the story. And I SO wish the Crackleberry Club really did exist!

I too wondered how a cult would fit into this story and it brings a level of seriousness to the story. I enjoyed trying to figure out how each different element fit into the murders - cults and churches and egg delivery trucks and the mayor and even the bumbling chief of police.

Eggs in Purgatory was very engaging and definitely a puzzler. It is the first in the Crackleberry Club series, and I will be sure to read the rest of the series.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All

You have probably heard that Whitney Houston died this afternoon, at the young age of 48. I was such a huge fan of her when I was younger... so many of us were. Watching her destroy her life was so heartbreaking. I hope she rests in peace, and hopefully her death will wake up some people who need their eyes opened.

How many times did I sing this song in front of the mirror?

Six and Twelve...

I went to a Valentine's craft and brunch moms meetup yesterday. I found  recipes on the Internet for Funfetti heart cookies and red velvet cake batter dip. Sounded good so I made them for the meetup. and i was going to share them w/whoever is still reading this blog!

But I didn't really like them. The cookies were very bland to me. I should have used my own (awesome) cut out cookie recipe. And the dip was ok. Red velvet isn't my fave but the dip just seemed eh.

I took them anyway - I needed to bring something. And the moms loved them! One literally had 5 cookies dipped in the dip! Which made me realize that just because I think it's bad doesn't mean everyone will. We all have different tastes!  (DUH LB!!)

Two days later, the cookies taste better, I guess a little stale works for them? (I would still use my recipe though) and the batter dip is not too bad, once it warms up for awhile. And it made A LOT!!!

Here is a pic... do you want me to share the recipe? I am still undecided!!

funfetti heart cookies and red velvet cake mix dip